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PR- 089-07
March 28, 2007


New Solid Waste Management Plan Initiative Begins Next Week at Selected Sites in Each Borough and Targets Busy Commercial Streets, Parks, and Transportation Facilities

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, and Sanitation & Solid Waste Management Chair Michael McMahon today announced the beginning of a 3-month public space recycling pilot program by the Department of Sanitation (DSNY). The program will target busy commercial streets, parks, and transportation facilities where significant amounts of recyclable materials, such as paper, plastic, and glass, are being deposited in trash receptacles and entering the waste stream.  From April 2nd through the end of June, DSNY will partner with the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Department of Transportation to provide recycling receptacles for bottles and cans, as well as for paper, at key locations.  These include parks in all five boroughs and both Staten Island Ferry Terminals.  DSNY hopes to expand the pilot, one of the many new initiatives created by the historic Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) adopted last year, to additional locations this summer.  Deputy Mayor for Administration Edward Skyler, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, and David Hurd, Director of the new Office for Recycling Outreach and Education, joined the Mayor for the announcement at the Saint George Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

"Last summer, after years of discussion and debate, we adopted a comprehensive, long term plan to deal with our City's solid waste, and one of the plan's biggest and most important goals was an ambitious expansion of our recycling programs," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Today, we are acting on our commitment to pursue new, innovative initiatives and enhance our recycling efforts.  If this pilot program is successful, we hope to expand it to other parts of our City and raise our public space recycling to unprecedented levels.  If all of us do our small part, we can make a big difference for our City."

"Summer is fast approaching, and New Yorkers are increasingly spending more time outdoors in our parks and throughout the City," said Speaker Quinn.  "But whether we are home or out enjoying all New York has to offer, it's important that we do our part to reduce waste, litter and pollution.  These new bins will provide more opportunities for everyone to pitch in and recycle, making our city a cleaner and greener place."

"The Public Space Recycling Pilot will demonstrate how much recyclable material we can capture from our litter basket waste stream," said Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty.  "The Department's recently-released comprehensive Waste Characterization Study found that as much as 50% of the contents of the city's 25,000 litter baskets could be recycled, especially plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans and newspapers. This pilot will move us closer to our 'three R's' goal of reducing, reusing and recycling much of our solid waste stream."

"I am very pleased that the Administration is following through on the commitments made in the Solid Waste Management Plan for a public recycling pilot in each borough," said Chair McMahon. "We must do everything possible to become a sustainable city, which includes recycling as much of our waste as possible. We hope that this will encourage people to recycle in public places and for the City to reach its recycling goals."

"New Yorkers can act locally to make a 'greener' city by recycling in their local parks, starting with this pilot project," said Commissioner Benepe. "The six parks chosen for this program are important public spaces and offer an excellent opportunity for New Yorkers to continue the practice of recycling outside of their homes and offices. We look forward to working with the Department of Sanitation and Department of Transportation to implement this exciting initiative."

"Many of us pick up a newspaper and a drink for the ferry ride across the harbor, so placing the recycling bins in the terminals is a great idea," said Commissioner Weinshall.  "I encourage everyone to drop their recyclables in these bins and help keep our new terminals clean."

During the pilot, which will officially begin on Monday, April 2nd, blue and green recycling bins will be placed in and around the Whitehall and Saint George Staten Island Ferry terminals, as well as Poe Park in the Bronx, Columbus Park in Brooklyn, Union Square Park in Manhattan, Hoffman Park in Queens, and Tappen Park and Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island.  The blue receptacles will collect bottles and cans and the green receptacles will collect paper.  Upon collection, the materials, in addition to being recycled, will be used in a waste characterization study that will determine the effectiveness of the program. 

The Sanitation Department is conducting a public outreach campaign to inform New Yorkers about this new program.  The campaign includes placing informational posters in bus stops and phone kiosks near the pilot locations.  In addition, during the first week of the program, morning copies of the daily Metro wrapped in promotional flyers will be distributed at the Saint George Ferry Terminal.  And during the evening rush hour at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal, DSNY staff will hand out free bottles of water with a custom label publicizing the program.  DSNY will continue promoting the program in communities throughout the length of the program.

The pilot program being launched today is one part of the comprehensive and ambitious Solid Waste Management Plan that was adopted last year.  It established the structure of the City's solid waste management through 2025, addressing both residential and commercial waste, as well as waste prevention and recycling.  In addition to public space recycling, the Solid Waste Management Plan - whose three main goals are environmental responsibility, economic soundness, and equity across all five boroughs - created a variety of new initiatives and programs related to waste prevention and recycling, including the new Office for Recycling Outreach and Education within the Council on the Environment.  Beginning in April, the Office will start a community district-specific outreach campaign to promote reuse, waste prevention, composting, and recycling.  The outreach campaign will educate and train building service personnel and occupants on the methods, requirements, and importance of recycling, including conducting building-specific waste audits.   The Office also will develop programs and identify additional opportunities for the public to recycle materials not currently designated in the City's recycling program.  Led by its Director David Hurd, who has worked for more than 25 years in recycling and community development efforts, and in partnership with DSNY, the Office will serve as a liaison to City agencies, civic organizations, cultural institutions, not-for-profits, businesses, real estate associations, and other organizations.  The Office also will conduct pilot-related outreach during April, May, and June.

Other new key waste prevention and recycling initiatives related to the Solid Waste Management Plan include:

  • Proposing percentage-based diversion goals;
  • Performing a waste characterization study;
  • Entering a 20-year processing contract with Sims Hugo Neu for metal, plastic, glass;
  • Developing an electronics recycling initiative;
  • Adding hazardous household waste collection;
  • Conducting new public education and advertising programs; and
  • Creating new composting programs.


Stu Loeser/Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Vito Turso   (Sanitation)
(646) 885-5020

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